Re: constructs, science and religion

Lois Shawver (
Mon, 17 Jun 1996 01:00:41 -0700 (PDT)


I suspect you are trying to make a point in this note to me and that I
missed it somehow because I am looking at something else. I'm not
arguing that I am right here so much as trying to show you what
objections come to mind as I read your note. Maybe if you can see those,
and deal with them, I can come to understand where you're coming form a
little better.

You said:
> .. I continue to be amazed that some people find it
> invalid to distinguish between gravity and God.

And I'm still puzzled. I say to myself: What could he possibly be
thinking here. Of course, it's valid to distinguish between gravity and
God, but that doesn't mean that everything is either one or the other.

What is so unclear here?
> I don't get it. Gravity IS, and everything works in concert with its
> predictable presence. 'God' is a term that is meaningful to some people
> and not to others, but can be shown not to have the same status as the
> gravity principle.

> That's all I'm saying. If you disagree, then I guess you're the kind of
> person who creates their own private standards and universe, and lives
> according to them, with proof assumed.

I think your way of putting it makes it sound like Newtonian science
wasn't challenged by relativity theory, quantum mechanics. The fact that
it was leaves us thinking that science not not establish fact in the
unambiguous way we use to think. Bohr's concept of the planetary atom,
with electrons in orbit, no longer seems right. Instead we are left with
wave/particle duality and Heiseberg's Uncertainty Principle. It no
longer seems like science establishes unambiguous fact. But that doesn't
mean that science is now a kind of religion. The dichotomy just seems
too simple.

> I personally don't care what people base their life on. But as one who
> aspires to a rational, science-oriented life, and wants to learn from
> what others have, authentically, found out, I need to be able to tell the
> difference between claims, in language, that are grounded in myth/belief
> and those which are grounded in paradigm/fact.

Well, to say it is grounded in a paradigm is a long way from saying it is
grounded in "fact". are you treating the concepts as identical?

Then I am free to choose
> which ones to go with. But when the nature of the claim's grounding is
> hidden from me, or misrepresented (however unintentionally), I feel
> disrespected, disempowered, and angry. It just doesn't make sense.

Yes, I think there is some miscommunication, and I may be contributing to
it. The task, I think, is to adapt to each other's way of thinking
enough to see where the communication problem is. As I said, I'm not
arguing that I am correct and you are wrong. I'm just trying to show you
the objections that come to mind that keep me from making sense of what
you're saying. Maybe you could keep that in mind when you revise it so I
can understand it.

..Lois Shawver